Restaurant Editor Bill Addison is traveling to chronicle what's happening in North America's dining scene and to formulate his list of the essential 38 restaurants in North America. Follow his progress in this travelogue/review series, The Road to the 38, and check back at the end of the year to find out which restaurants made the cut.
The broth looked muddy, like a river after a rainstorm. Cinnamon's barky-sweet scent whirled with gamey aromas. On the side there were lemon slices and logs of crusty flatbread sprinkled with sesame seeds. But it wasn't until we dipped spoons into the soup that the mystery meats bobbing just below the surface revealed their identities: the lobe, soft from hours of simmering, was certainly a tongue, and, yes, that pointy bit was indeed a hoof.
Kaleh pacheh, a potage of sheep's head and foot that is served for breakfast in Iran, can be unnerving—but I was thrilled. The menus at Persian restaurants in North America veer toward monotony: the same mix of kabobs, yogurt dips, and stews at place after place. Takht-e Tavoos, on a stretch Toronto's multicultural College Street not far from the city's Little Italy, is the brave groundbreaker that looks further afield. Owners Alireza Fakhrashrafi and Danielle Schrage own two other Persian restaurants on College Street: Their first, Pomegranate, trades in greatest-hits dishes like mast-o-musir (yogurt with dried shallots) and fesenjan (the stew seasoned with pomegranate syrup and ground walnuts, often served with chicken). Kabobs headline at Pomegranate's little sister, Sheherzade.